Statement by Mr. Masatoshi Narita, Councillor for Pharmaceutical Safety, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, at the 57th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs High Level Segment
To begin with, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to you Ambassador Shamaa for your chairmanship in the high-level segment of 57th CND. I am sure that under your guidance and leadership, we will come to a very successful outcome with this high level segment.
I would also like to express my gratitude for having the opportunity to attend this high-level segment of the Commission on Narcotics Drug and to make a statement for Japan.
Japan highly appreciates the progress in international policy and countermeasures to drug problems based on the Political Declaration and its Plan of Action in 2009. I strongly believe that it is important and essential to maintain this international momentum and to improve these activities. To achieve our goals by 2019, Japan renews its strong will to continue contributing to this international activity.
Here, I would like to emphasize five points which Japan would like to share with international society, based on our experience of countermeasures against drug abuse in Japan.
The first point is the importance of a balanced approach to the drug problem.
Our country has adopted a “Five-Year Drug Abuse Prevention Strategy” lead by Government, as part of which the relevant agencies take necessary measures in close cooperation. The pillars of the Strategy are the following.
- Raising the awareness of young people
- Support for drug addicts through treatment and reintegration into society
- Strict law enforcement directed against drug abusers
- Thorough measures to block drug smuggling at the borders
- Enhancement of international collaboration and cooperation
As a balanced approach toward supply and demand reduction, Japan is working on reducing drug abuse and on conducting thorough controls on illegal drugs effectively. As a demand reduction measure, we firmly believe that drug prevention should be most prioritized. Japan stresses that measures should be adopted based on each country’s situation since there is no uniform way to achieve demand reduction.
The second point is about methamphetamine.
Methamphetamine has become a global threat because it is manufactured all over the world. Methamphetamine can be easily produced only with precursors and with manufacturing techniques. Japan is concerned about this growing threat for the future.
To prevent the spread of methamphetamine, the international community needs to fight against this problem as a high-priority issue. In particular, it is important to ensure effective precursor control mechanism work on a national, regional and international basis. Japan would like to strengthen the countermeasures on precursors in cooperation with the UNODC and INCB. I would like to point out that interception of drug transactions at the border is effective. In order to prevent large scale smuggling, Japan requests strengthening active cooperation amongst law enforcement authorities in relevant countries through information sharing and exchanges on techniques and experience in joint operations.
Japan is going to host a side event titled “Methamphetamine on the rise” on March 17th together with UNODC. Japan has been successful so far in preventing domestic manufacture of methamphetamine and preventing the spread of its abuse. We are sure that the event will be a good opportunity for information sharing and exchange, which strengthens cooperation. We welcome all of your participation.
The third point is countermeasures to the new psychoactive substances.
Since illicit drugs are trafficked internationally, there are limits to the ability of any one country to deal with this problem. The international community must work on drug problems with an understanding of common and shared responsibility. In particular, we must take all the necessary measures to counteract NPS, which are not controlled by conventions but have spread rapidly in recent years.
The Commission on Narcotics Drugs adopted a resolution in 2013 on the promotion of international cooperation on the NPS problem, as proposed by several countries including Japan. Japan is continuously strengthening its regulation as well as disseminating information on the risks of NPS. However new uncontrolled substances are showing up all the time, and these are trafficked and abused in the real world.
In this context, Japan strongly requests each government and relevant international organizations not only take measures but also cooperate and coordinate rapid information exchange and sharing of relevant information, as well as discussion in the Commission on Narcotics Drugs on this issue.
The fourth point is about cannabis.
Japan is deeply concerned about the move towards legalization of cannabis in some parts of the world. We emphasize that the international community and each country should work continuously on controlling cannabis, and on prevention of cannabis abuse in full compliance with the 1961 convention.
Japan also has concerns that medical use of cannabis may cover recreational use of cannabis. Japan considers that the international community needs to deal with this issue carefully.
We request the international community spare no effort to build societies which do not tolerate the abuse of cannabis.
The fifth point is so-called harm reduction.
Japan is concerned by the universal promotion of harm reduction measures, such as the promotion of needle exchanges for people who inject drugs to reduce the harm to health and society caused by drug abuse. Japan believes that this kind of method does not reduce drug abuse but may lead to practical acceptance of drug abuse.
There are various measures and ideas to reduce the harm to health and society caused by drug abuse, which must be adapted to the situation in each country and region. Japan opposes the blanket application of any harm reduction measure. We stress that each area should choose appropriate measures based on the consideration over its situation.
Japan supports the efforts made by the Commission on Narcotics Drugs so far, and requests it to improve its functions and to carry out the comprehensive measures that the international community seeks. Japan will continuously support the initiatives against global drug problems including capacity building through UNODC, and would like to contribute actively to the United Nation General Assembly Special Session on Drugs in 2016.
Thank you for your attention.